The trip to India has generated a lot of excitement on campus. Finishing grading, in particular, has opened up the doors for extensive speculation and castle-building regarding all that will happen in India. The last minute concerns seem to do with phones – where to get sim cards? Will our local phones work there? Will we have to sell our kidneys for a cell phone?
It has been difficult to be party to all this pre-travel enthusiasm owing to the sudden death of my close friend and coauthor, Jalal Alamgir. I have contemplated dropping out of the trip many a time in the last three weeks, but I will go in the name of this friend whose short life was a wonder and an inspiration. He worked on India and didn't like the place very much (mostly because of the research-restrictions that the government had imposed on him when he was writing a book), but he has always been ready for exploration and adventure. In that spirit, here I go.